Last Updated on April 24, 2024

May is a fantastic month to visit London. Spring has finally arrived! With milder temperatures, longer daylight hours, and a good amount of sunshine, it’s a lovely time to explore the city’s outdoor attractions, such as parks, gardens, and riverside areas, without the extreme heat or cold of winter or summer.

London is beginning to buzz with many outdoor events during May. Enjoy the Chelsea Flower Show, open air theatre in Regents Park, an urban fete and guided walks in the park among the many events taking place.

As the days lengthen in May, there’s more time to explore the city’s attractions and landmarks. Compared to the peak tourist season in summer, May tends to be slightly less crowded, making it easier to visit popular attractions and landmarks without long queues or overcrowding.

Of course there’s always a danger of rain in London in any month which means indoor activities are just as important and there are plenty of those too. Visit the lego brick exhibition, the Paddington Bear exhibition or visit one of London’s many museums.

With two bank holidays and a kids’s school half term holidays there is lots of events and activities for kids and children to.

In this guide, find out 19 of the best things to do in London in May 2024.

Be Inspired at the Chelsea Flower Show

The world-famous Chelsea Flower Show, organized by the Royal Horticultural Society takes place between 21st and 25th May in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Wander through the show gardens and explore floral marquees. Experience the finest in garden design, enjoy stunning displays, and find plenty of inspiration for your own green spaces.

Plus for the first time in 2024, see the “No Adults Allowed Garden”, a green space designed for children by children.

Find out more at the RHS website

Enjoy open-air performances against the backdrop of the greenery in Regents Park. The 2024 open air theatre season has a varied programme. In May, choose either Shakespeare’s 12th Night (3rd May to 8th June) or Roald Dahl’s the Enormous Crocodile (17th May to 8th June).

Book your tickets here.

Party at the Urban Village Fete at the Greenwich Peninusla

You are invited to Greenwich Penninsula for the party of the year! Enjoy music, workshop, talks, street food and family activities including crafts and face painting.

It takes place on 19th May from 11am until late. Bring your family and a picnic blanket or you friends and some dancing shoes. Find out more

The Paddington Bear Experiences opens at the County Hall on May 31st.

Embark on a fascinating adventure in Paddington’s World and help Paddington and the Brown Family prepare for a very special occasion; the Marmalade Day Festival.

Find out more

A must for lego fans!  The Art of Brick exhibition is in London throughout the month of May

There are more than 150 works of art made up of over a million lego bricks. Impressively it includes lego recreations of some world famous artworks including Michelangelo’s David, Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. There’s also a 6-metre-long reproduction of a Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton

It takes place at the boiler house in Brick Lane. Buy tickets here.

Challenge Family and Friends to A Free Game of Minigolf

May is a great month for a game of mini golf, especially when it’s free. Designed by artists Craig and Karl, this colourful course located at Canary Wharf is free! Clubs and balls are provided. Visit between 12pm and 6pm for a game with family or friends.

Find out more.

Travel back in time during May half term (25th May to 2nd June) at the The Royal Airforce Museum for Second World War Week. Discover all about the RAF and life during the 1940s, culminating in a D-Day Weekend. The museum and event is free. Book tickets in advance.

This London Transport Museum is for people of all ages and showcases history of London transport through the age. There’s always lots of activities for families. Kids will especially love climbing on some of the buses and the play areas.

During May half term there are extra activities for children which are based around the iconic London transport Roundel. Design a Roundel, hunt for roundels hidden in the museum and take part in interactive story telling. Find out more.

With lighter evenings, more sunshine, blossom still on some of the trees and flowers in full bloom, May is a glorious month to visit one of London’s amazing Royal parks. Here is a quick round up of where to go and what’s on.

Hyde Park – Perhaps the most famous of all the Royal Parks, Hyde Park covers a vast area of central London. It features the Serpentine Lake, where visitors can enjoy boating in May. Why not join a bat walk taking place during the evening of 2nd and 9th May? Kids can also join discovery days on 28th – 30th May.

Greenwich Park – is the home to the Royal Observatory which is perhaps its most famous feature. It’s here that the Prime Meridian Line, dividing the eastern and western hemispheres of the Earth, is marked. Visitors can also enjoy lovely views of the River Thames and the Canary Wharf skyline. In addition there are some beautiful gardens, lots of places to picnic and a playground for the kids.

Regent’s Park is known for its beautifully landscaped gardens, including the stunning Queen Mary’s Gardens. It’s also home to London Zoo and offers open-air theatre performances during the summer months (see above)

Richmond Park is the largest Royal Park in London and famous for its deer herds and expansive grasslands. Enjoy walking, cycling, or horse riding through its picturesque landscapes.

St James’ Park is located right next to Buckingham Palace. It’s lake is home to a variety of bird species including pelicans which are fed at 2pm on most days. There’s a playground for kids too. Take part in the hidden stories walking tour on 10th May.

There’s always tons going on at Shakespeare’s Globe and May is no exception.

There are some brilliant plays to see including Much Ado about Nothing and Richard III.

In addition there are a wide variety of tours of the Globe including a Pride themed tour and a family friendly Ghost and Goul tour.

There are also plenty of family events for kids over the May half term holidays. They include Macbeth workshops and family sword fighting. Find out more here.

 

Witness the Majestic Changing of the Guard Ceremony

As the weather is getting warmer, May is another good month to go and see one of London’s most famous traditions, the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

Held outside Buckingham Palace, the ritual showcases the British monarchy’s ceremonial guards.

It takes place at 11:00 AM on set days during the month. Get there early to secure a prime viewing spot along the palace gates or the nearby Victoria Memorial.

May is one of the best times to visit Kew Gardens. From colorful tulips and daffodils to fragrant roses and rhododendrons, the gardens are filled with color. Explore the Waterlily House, the Alpine Garden, and the Princess of Wales Conservatory to see a diverse range of flowering plants in bloom.

One of the highlights of visiting Kew Gardens in May is strolling along Cherry Blossom Avenue, a picturesque pathway lined with cherry trees in bloom. Keep an eye on Instagram to see when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

If you’re unlucky enough to get rain, Kew’s iconic glasshouses offer some shelter. See the Temperate House and the Palm House, which are home to an extraordinary collection of plants from around the world including towering palms, lush ferns, and tropical orchids.

One of my favourite things to do at Kew is a stroll along the Treetop Walkway. This elevated walkway offers lovely views of the gardens. See the canopy from a unique perspective.

London Craft week is an annual event which showcases the work of master craftsmen and emerging talents. If you’re interested in crafts it’s a treat – choose from a range exhibitions, workshops, and demonstrations. The variety of crafts is outstanding and includes a millinery workshop, a riviere rugs showcase, soft ceramics exhibiton and a brush making workshop  Highlights in 2024 even include the vintage supermarket!

Find the full programme of events here. 

The Horniman Museum and Gardens has free entry and is located in Forest Hill, South London (a short train ride away from the ciy centre).

It houses a diverse range of collections. Highlights include anthropology collections featuring objects from cultures around the world, including ceremonial masks, textiles and religious artifacts. There are also natural history collections, an array of musical instruments from African drums to European string instruments, a butterfly house* and an aquarium*, (*an extra charge is required for some exhibits).

The Dinosaur rEvolution exhibition explores the relationship between dinosaurs and birds. It includes five large animatronic models, many accurate cast fossil skeletons and skulls! It’s running throughout May (until 3rd November). There is an extra cost and you will need to book.

Explore the remarkable contributions of The Flying Nightingales at the Florence Nightingale Museum

The Florence Nightingale Museum is dedicated to the life and legacy of Florence Nightingale, the nurse and social reformer known as the “Lady with the Lamp.” Located in London, near St Thomas’ Hospital where Nightingale trained and worked, the museum offers an insight into her remarkable contributions to nursing, healthcare, and public health.

See personal items that belonged to Florence Nightingale, including her nursing cap, shawl, and writing desk. Read from the collection of letters, diaries, and documents that she wrote.

During May half term, there is a family event designed to help visitors explore the contributions of The Flying Nightingales who worked with the RAF during the Second World War. Enjoy interative activities including a poppies hands-on make-and-take craft session.

The Horrible History, Terrible Thames Tours are boat rides on the River Thames which are popular with families with kids. 

Climb aboard and prepare to hear the horrible history one of the most famous rivers in the world. See the sites along the River Thames and hear fun, educational facts.

Ideal for the whole family – even the oldies will probably learn stuff they didn’t already know.

Book your ticket here.

Learn about the British Army in Germany at the National Army Museum

The National Army Museum in Chelsea, London is free and dedicated to the history and heritage of the British Army. Embark on an immersive journey through centuries of military history.

In May, there are two temporary exhibitions that are well worth seeing. Foe to Friend examines the British Army in Germany since 1945 and is running until September 24. There’s also an exhibition exploring Shakespeare and War. 

During May half term, kids can take part in themed activities about D-Day Deception. Discover how the allies prepared for the invastion of Europe during the Second World War. Also learn about the deception techniques the Army has used throughout history as part of a family friendly tour.

Meet George the cat. Join him on an adventure around the area, meet his friends and listen to his tales with our Kings Cross Family Trail.
Pick up a pocket book map and sticker book from the Visitor Centre and use your detective skills to complete the trail

The Disney100 – The Exhibition at the London Excel is running throughout May and is a must for Disney fans.

Discover 100 years of Disney’s history. The exhibition is showcasing 250 rarely-seen artefacts and works of art, costumes, props, and fascinating memorabilia.

Book your tickets

What’s the Weather Like In May in London

In May it’s springtime in London with milder temperatures and longer daylight hours than the previous months of the year. Although, it’s worth noting weather conditions in London vary from year to year.

Average daytime temperatures in May typically range from around 10°C (50°F) to 18°C (64°F).
However, temperatures can occasionally reach higher, with some days seeing highs in the low to mid-20s°C (70s°F).
Night time temperatures are cooler, ranging from around 5°C (41°F) to 10°C (50°F), so it’s advisable to bring layers if you’re out in the evenings.

May is one of the sunnier months in London, with an average of around 7 hours of sunshine per day.
The days continue to get longer, with sunset occurring later in the evening, providing lots of opportunity for outdoor activities and sightseeing.

While May is generally a drier month compared to the winter and early spring months, occasional showers are still possible.
On average, London receives around 50mm (2 inches) of rainfall spread over approximately 10 days in May.
It’s always a good idea to carry an umbrella or raincoat, especially if you’re planning to spend extended periods outdoors.

Winds in London during May are typically light to moderate, although breezier conditions can occur at times.
Wind speeds tend to be milder compared to the winter months

May in London often sees a mix of sunny spells, cloudy days, and occasional showers.
The weather can be quite changeable, so it’s a good idea to check the forecast regularly, especially if you have outdoor plans.
May marks the start of the transition to warmer weather in London, with the city gradually coming to life with blossoming flowers and lush greenery.

Overall, May is a pleasant time to visit London, with mild temperatures, longer daylight hours, and the chance to enjoy outdoor activities and events across the city. Whether you’re exploring parks and gardens, attending outdoor festivals, or simply strolling along the Thames, London in May offers plenty of opportunities to embrace the springtime atmosphere.

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